Ken Davidoff's baseball insider

Yankees, Mets, trade rumors, free agents, off-the-wall predictions and other MLB musings.

Contest: An instructional book about baseball

Hey, I wrote yesterday, "Stop by later for a contest." Today is still "later," isn't it?

"Baseball: How To Play The Game" is an in-house production and publication by Major League Baseball. It's extremely well done in both text and pictures; many of the game's current great players cooperated and contributed. If you're a coach, a helpful parent or a player yourself...

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Comment Winter Olympics: Albert Pujols, the Mets' injuries and sports fans

It was a relatively quiet week here at the blog, as I returned to New York and began work on Newsday's baseball preview section. So the judges had it relatively easy.

Your medalists:

--The bronze goes to Islander505, who predictably reacted to my post showing how amazingly long Albert Pujols has been reliably excellent:

I reiterate my preseason prediction. Pujols WILL...

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The most reliably excellent players, 2012

Here's our annual drill, in which we appreciate just how difficult it is to be an excellent player for an extended period. In this discussion, "Excellent" means "Among the top 30 VORP in baseball" for position players and pitchers.

Players who have reached that peak for at least the prior three seasons, 2009 through 2011, make this list. We detail who goes back even further...

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Annual visceral, small-sample-sized observations from spring training

Philadelphia Phillies' Jonathan Papelbon throws during practice at

(Credit: AP)

Upon returning home from my first visit to spring training, I always enjoy checking in with some mental snapshots, mindful that what I took away could prove to be hugely significant or, far more likely, wholly irrelevant. Here is last year's entry. I forgot that I had Johnny Damon on the record acknowledging how important reaching 3,000 career hits was.

Some spring trainings, I'll spend almost...

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Looking back at my free-agent predictions

By my parameters, a Hot Stove League hasn't officially concluded until the future of every Type A free agent has been resolved.

This year, the last man standing was Roy Oswalt, and his resolution was to leave things unresolved. He's going the Roger Clemens/Pedro Martinez route and market himself as an in-season acquisition. If he's willing to go somewhere besides St. Louis or Texas, then he...

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Yu Darvish, Carlos Beltran, Gio Gonzalez and John Danks

Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish of Nippon-Ham Fighters shouts

(Credit: Getty Images)

Hope that everyone had a good week and good holiday. First, let's catch up. Then we'll discuss what's on tap for this week.

Four big transactions:

1. The Rangers won the rights to Yu Darvish. It's a mild surprise, only because Texas worked so hard in recent weeks to lower expectations on this front not only in the media, but in the baseball world, as well. Just mild, however, because...

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What's next? Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun and the Yankees

PRINCE FIELDER First base, Milwaukee Brewers 2011: .299,

(Credit: MCT)

The winter meetings is supposed to serve as the Hot Stove League's climax. We work our way up to that week, we have a flood of transactions during the meetings and then we ramp down for the holidays, building up toward spring training when the new year arrives.

This year? It was pretty close to that, when you consider that Albert Pujols (Angels), Jose Reyes (Miami) and C.J. Wilson (Angels)...

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Comment Winter Olympics: Bobby Valentine, Jose Reyes and Albert Pujols

Well, it was a busy week for me at the winter meetings, and a busy week for commenting, as well. Which is a great thing, no matter how much work that meant for the judges.

So without further ado, here are your medalists:

--The bronze goes to Islander505, who, when informed that I attended Bobby Valentine's news conference at Fenway Park, reacted thusly: How was the chicken? Regular...

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The Angels sign Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson

Good Lord.

The Wilson deal, we saw coming. Pujols? Not so much.

I heard some rumblings about the Angels on Tuesday, but by that time, it seemed like the Pujols Derby was down to the Cardinals and Marlins. And besides, would the Angels - the trailers in recent Hot Stove sweepstakes - really go all out to sign this guy?

The Pujols deal is, of course, crazy. How anyone besides St....

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The Mets' moves, the Yankees' non-moves and Albert Pujols - and there's a live chat today

You'd better believe there's a live chat this morning. Live from Dallas. 11:00 Eastern time, 10:00 Dallas time. Are you fired up? Do you have good questions? How badly do you want to win the Live Chat MVP?

So given that there isn't much time before then, let's keep it brief and basic this morning:

--The Mets made a flurry of moves yesterday. Here's my take on them.

--The Yankees,...

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